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Are you hoping to go to one of these art schools?

Sheridan, OCADU, Emily Carr, NSCAD, Ryerson, Concordia, Carleton, Waterloo, Pratt, CalArts, Ringling, Parsons, RISD, SVA, SCAD? PortPrep’s teachers are here to help!

Get accepted into your first choice art school with PortPrep!

We offer coaching services designed to help college applicants make a winning art portfolio to increase their chances, if not guarantee a spot, of getting into an art or design program of their choice. Whether you are in primary or secondary school, already in college or a graduated adult, we are here to help you develop your skills in various art forms. We teach the fundamentals of drawing, painting, animation, illustration, architecture and concept art.

If you are wondering how to get accepted in a top ranked art or design school, look no further! We can support you in your goal with our team of teachers with wide array of disciplines. Our Head Portfolio Coach and founder, Karen Kesteloot is an experienced art instructor who gained her expertise while reviewing portfolio submissions of applicants at Sheridan College.

The great thing about PortPrep is that students can learn while in the comfort of their own homes, via online coaching, or visit our studios in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. We help students the world over!

In 2019 PortPrep is conducting our sixth Animation Summer Camp right here in Guelph!


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Karen Kesteloot

Karen Kesteloot has been helping high school students achieve their dreams of getting into the best art and design programs in college through her coaching services at PortPrep. She does this by improving their fundamental drawing and painting skills, and then targeting their key weakest areas to bring up their overall skill levels. She also has had many experiences marking students portfolios so is very familiar with the process of students submitting their portfolios.

Karen also graduated with a diploma in Commercial Interior Design and a Degree in Fine Art. She also holds several certificates of Adult Education and various arts.

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Garth Laidlaw

Garth Laidlaw is a professional animator, illustrator, and teacher. He loves the metaphorical and fantastical - the fragments that drift up from our deep creative and imaginative minds that manifest in the stories we illustrate. Being a graduate of Sheridan College’s Animation program, his focus is on preparing students to enter a similar discipline. His range of teaching covers students interested in developing their skills in TV animation, feature film animation, gaming, and illustrating chidren’s books and board games.


Anthony DiGiovanni

Anthony is a freelance fantasy illustrator and concept artist. He works with a number of established authors in fantasy and sci-fi, and also works for a theme park development company. His specific strand of illustration is inspired by the master illustrators and painters of the 20th century. He specializes in digital painting, specifically geared towards realism (games, feature films). Recently, he’s been exploring digital sculpting in VR using Oculus Rift.

Teaching Philosophy

The reason we began Portprep was because we have all been through, either as students or faculty, different art Colleges and Universities, and we’ve noticed big knowledge gaps between students in high-school, and where they’re expected to be by the time they enter a post-secondary institution. Garth felt that he had no idea what was necessary to get into Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Animation program when he was in high-school. The internet makes things easier to find comparable successful portfolios, but it still doesn’t tell how to get the skills to get in. He had to take an entire year of a preparatory program called Art Fundamentals before he just managed to get in. That program wasn’t cheap either, at around $5,000.

What PortPrep hopes to accomplish is to get our students in without having to take one to three years of preparation in various college-level art programs. How we do this is by carefully synthesizing all of the most useful things we learned while we were in our art programs, and sharing that with our students. While technology and software continues to gradually change, the core art skills require the same rigor, discipline, and pressure to the right place. While there is no shortcut to success, we hope to give our students the shortest-cut available!

A big part of our teaching involves echoing many of the core fundamentals art practices that are lacking in many highschool art programs. Unlike highschools, we do not teach abstract art, or art theory, or anything else beyond the direct acquisition of craft alone. Our philosophy is that if we give you the tools to be able to depict all of the wonderful, creative things in your head already, then we don’t need to teach how to be a storyteller, because you already are one. Most students who are interested in animation or illustration already have a large thirst for big, epic, fantastical stories, and so what we need to do is get rid of all of road blocks, or technical skills, to letting you express them. Once you have the ability to draw using the correct perspective, anatomy, and shot angles, you’ll be making films of your own in no time.

Karen, Garth, Anthony, and all of our other part-time teachers are all professional working artists, with each of their own list of people who’ve inspired them, and a big part of being an art student is knowing who inspires you, or who has tackled similar artistic problems to the ones you’re challenged by. Having the right mentors (living and dead!) is critical to having a successful career in the arts.

Main Studio PortPrep Art School Preparation

208 Woolwich St at Buy the Yard Interiors

Guelph ON N1H 3V7

PortPrep & ArtStory Figure Drawing Studio

20 Chester St

Guelph, ON N1H 1K6

PortPrep Animation and Illustration Camp Studio

84/86 Wyndham St North at Necessary Arts Co

Guelph ON N1H 4E8